Port of Spain General Hospital (Colonial Hospital) Main Entrance | Photograph Geoffrey MacLean 2009
In about 1804, Orange Grove Estate, the site of today’s General Hospital, was acquired by the British Government on which the Orange Grove Barracks was established for the 59th Regiment of the British Forces. Considered less healthy than the cleaner country air of St. James, this was abandoned when the St James’ Barracks was built in 1827.
The Colonial Hospital was built in 1855. The architect was Samuel Lewis who designed in a Classical Style Architecture, perhaps ostentatious, but with a firm order and discipline well suited to the forces of an Imperial Power. The details incorporate Ionic and Doric orders, stone from local quarries faced with imported yellow brick, sash windows, wooden jalousies and awnings. Segmental arches form the windows and doors for the ground floor with decorative cast-iron railings.
Over the years the building has been adapted to modern medical practice, but fortunately much of the external detailing has been retained. It is hoped that these details will be fully restored and properly maintained.
Rudylynn De Four Roberts